Joshua 10:1-6, As soon as Adoni-zedek, king of Jerusalem, heard how Joshua had captured Ai and had devoted it to destruction, doing to Ai and its king as he had done to Jericho and its king, and how the inhabitants of Gibeon had made peace with Israel and were among them, 2 he feared greatly, because Gibeon was a great city, like one of the royal cities, and because it was greater than Ai, and all its men were warriors. 3 So Adoni-zedek king of Jerusalem sent to Hoham king of Hebron, to Piram king of Jarmuth, to Japhia king of Lachish, and to Debir king of Eglon, saying, 4 “Come up to me and help me, and let us strike Gibeon. For it has made peace with Joshua and with the people of Israel.”5 Then the five kings of the Amorites, the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, and the king of Eglon, gathered their forces and went up with all their armies and encamped against Gibeon and made war against it.
6 And the men of Gibeon sent to Joshua at the camp in Gilgal, saying, “Do not relax your hand from your servants. Come up to us quickly and save us and help us, for all the kings of the Amorites who dwell in the hill country are gathered against us.”
Background Information in Joshua 10:
God’s people, saved out of Egypt, are finally able to enter the land God had promised generations before to Abraham-the land of Canaan, the Promised Land, a land flowing with milk and honey. Yet, it was a land that was occupied by evil and dangerous people. And what we see is that God is with His people. Jericho falls, then Ai falls, then the Gibeonites, who were a powerful people with a powerful city, make a treaty with Israel. The conquest of the southern part of Canaan was well underway and was threatening Adoni-Zedek…the King of Jerusalem!
So the king of Jerusalem does what any good king does when feeling threatened and like his back is up against the wall…he recruits 4 other city-states of his own to destroy Joshua’s new allies.
With an attack immanent, Gibeon decides to test their newly inked treaty! And so they call on Joshua and the Israelites to come help defend the Gibeonites against this 5 army alliance! Now here is where it is easy to read this incredibly brief account in Scripture and miss how incredibly epic and massive the battle is. Two armies are facing 5 armies. When you go see the Battle of the 5 Armies in a couple weeks, pay attention to how large and intimidating 5 armies looks…then add two more armies! Then you will understand the scale of what we are talking about here!
In the film The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, there is a statement made by the protagonist – Bilbo Baggins. He says, “when faced with death, what can anyone do?” That is a great question. It is a question that Joshua had to answer as he marches his people into battle! Joshua was faced with death. He was faced with an unthinkable situation.
Many of us today have faced or are facing an unthinkable situation. If you have not yet faced an unthinkable situation, I have some very bad news. You will at some point in your life. It is the human condition. We are destined to face tragedy because we live in a fallen and wicked world! So we must ask a key question: When faced with the unthinkable, what should we do? The answer? We must remember the promises of God!
That may seem incredibly simplistic. How do the promises of God help us when we are facing insurmountable obstacles and unthinkable situations? In this amazing story we will see three ways that remembering God’s promise can help us when facing the unthinkable.
- God’s Promises should Give us Confidence.
- God’s Promises should Motivate Action.
- God’s Promises should Result in Prayer.
We will unpack each of these points in the next three blog posts.
Written by Pastor Dave Bertolini